DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2005 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG.


Cheree Cargill

Stardate: 3290.5, Personal Log, First Officer Spock recording.

I am in sickbay. Today is the fourth day since I fell ill and I believe that I am finally well enough that Dr. McCoy will release me to my own cabin today. It has been a week since we discovered how to destroy the brain parasites, but after the initial euphoria, we discovered that they were not finished, even in death.

The creature inside my body was dead, but its decomposing tissue was still there. Its toxins invaded all my systems and I quickly fell into a high fever and delirium as my body attempted to deal with this alien invader. I have also been subjected to intense vomiting, leading to severe dehydration. Dr. McCoy has been administering IV drips and dextrose solutions since I collapsed on my way from the bridge, attempting to make it to my cabin. At least I did not lose control while on the bridge itself. The shame would have been almost more than even a Vulcan could bear.

Mr. Scott has been in command since my collapse. Captain Kirk is on his way to Earth, accompanying the bodies of his brother and sister-in-law to their burial place there. His young nephew is also with him. The boy is undoubtedly gravely ill. Although the parasite was killed in his body with UV bombardment, he must be undergoing the same aftermath as I have been. I hope that the Lexington's medical staff are able to save him.

The Captain bore up well until the day after we "cleansed" Deneva, then he broke down as his grief overwhelmed him. George Samuel Kirk, Jr. was his only sibling, the older brother he had admired and loved. Dr. McCoy contacted Starfleet Command and had him placed on four weeks' compassionate leave so that he would be able to attend to family responsibilities and mourn properly.

I wish I could tell him that I have also lost a brother, one whom I also admired as he did Sam, but I am forbidden to speak his name or acknowledge him. He is k'torr skann and dead to me. Though I do not believe it and often wonder where he is now.

But to return to what I was saying regarding the Captain ... I am certain that his emotional strength will bear him through this, but I worry about young Peter Kirk's future. To lose both his parents to this tragedy and also to undergo a devastating attack that nearly took his own life, the boy is certain to be traumatized extensively. Jim told me as he left that Peter would be placed in the care of his grandmother, Irene Kirk. I always had the impression, somehow, that Jim's mother was a little, gray-haired housewife on a farm in Iowa, but apparently that is far from the case. His mother is a horticultural scientist on an agri-station there, widowed, yes, but a very vibrant 60-year-old who also paints and makes pottery. I cannot suppress a secret smile at my own foolishness, for his mother sounds very much like mine. I believe Peter will be in good hands and I wish him the best.

Meanwhile, help has arrived to assist the survivors on Deneva. Of the million inhabitants, some 15,000 have died from the parasitic attack. The hospital ships Pasteur, Reed and Curie have arrived, as well as the Potemkin and their medical staffs are hard at work caring for the people who are suffering from the aftereffects.

As I have lain in my fever these past few days, I have turned over in my mind what I learned of the creature with which we were dealing. As I knew after I was infected, this was one organism, vast and growing. I cannot say that it was sentient, unless it was only on the most rudimentary level. There was no malevolence in it, simply the imperative to survive.

When the individual cell creatures attacked, they implanted a seed that immediately sought out the nervous system of the victim and then grew until the brain functions was overtaken. It was the pressure on the nerves that caused the intense pain and, once the brain was reached, the parent organism's survival became the primary function of the host. It was what drove the hosts mad and what forced them to seek the expansion of the parasite's territory. It was what I felt as I attempted to commandeer the helm of the Enterprise before I realized what was happening. To survive, the organism must grow and expand, by any means.

Dr. McCoy reported to me that the landing parties also discovered how the organism reproduced. I had wondered how the "infection" spread since the actual number of the cell creatures we found was not adequate to infect the entire population. Apparently, once the internal infection reached a critical phase, by which time the host was on the point of death, a new crop of cells had formed within the host's body and then burrowed out, ready to fly away and infest new hosts. They found a number of decomposing bodies on Deneva that evidenced this procedure. I cannot help but shudder that this was the fate in store for me, had we not found a way to stop the infection from spreading.

As it is, I am emotionally shattered by the experience. The pain was as nothing I have ever experienced ... and hope never to experience again. It took every ounce of my discipline to control it. Then the shock of blindness and now this sickness in its aftermath have left me weak and uncertain of my own recovery. All my emotional shields seem to have disintegrated and I must meditate extensively before I have them in place again.

And a new element has been added. Nurse Chapel. I cannot fault her for doing her job and she has only been professional and efficient around me, but when she touches me, as she often has during my confinement here in sickbay, I feel as if I am on fire inside. After our encounter during the Psi 2000 incident, it took quite a while for our working relationship to become comfortable again, but eventually we were able to work side by side in the labs without any hesitancy on our parts.

But now ... now I am suddenly aware of her as a woman. When she is near, I drink in the scent of her skin and hair. When she speaks, I hang on the sound of her voice. When she leans over me, I am caught by the deep blue of her eyes and gentleness of her smile. Her touch inflames me in a primal way and I have found her figuring into the fever dreams that have haunted me these past days. They are very sexually explicit dreams.

I cannot allow this to continue. Even if I were free, I could not allow it, for I am her superior officer and we are colleagues in our chosen professions. And she is not mine! I am betrothed. Though I have not seen her in many years, T'Pring is waiting for me on Vulcan, sealed into my mind and ready for the approaching time of--

No! It cannot be now! Is that why I feel such fire within me when I look at Nurse Chapel? Am I reacting to her simply because she is female and one who is caring for me? Has this experience on Deneva destroyed my control to the point that ... the Time is upon me?

No! I will not accept that answer! It is merely my own weakness and Humanity that affects me. I will not allow it!

I am a Vulcan! I will control!